Brazilian Samba School Beija-Flor de Nilópolis is the champion of the 2018 Rio de Janeiro Carnaval, one of the largest and popular celebrations in the world.
Conducted by singer Neguinho da Beija-Flor, the samba-enredo “Monstrous is the One Who Does Not Know How to Love”, made a parallel between Mary Shelley’s terror novel “Frankenstein”, which turns 200 this year, and the social ills of Brazil. Corruption, inequality, violence, and intolerance of gender, race, religious and even sports formed the scenario of “Brazil monstrosity”.
In the original story, a scientist gives life to a creature constructed with parts of dead people, becoming an ugly figure. In the parade, it comes to criticize social and political problems as corruption has dominated the country’s news, with former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva being sentenced to 12 years in prison and dozens of politicians under investigation over a huge graft scandal, including current president Michel Temer, who took office in 2016 after the contradictory Dilma Rousseff impeachment.
Beija-Flor de Nilópolis now has 14 titles in the Rio’s Carnaval Special Group – only behind Portela and Mangueira in total victories.
Little-known Samba School Made a Historic Parade
With Brazil’s president portrayed as a “neoliberal vampire”
and dancers dressed as shackled slaves and downtrodden street vendors, a little-known samba school also brought politics to the heart of Rio’s glamorous Carnival parade.
Paraíso de Tuiuti previously par-ticipated in the Carnival competition of samba schools only twice, placing last both times. The school’s performance came in second this year, missing out on first place by just a tenth of a point.
Tuiuti, however, “was the most direct in their message,” said Leandro Silveira, a historian and Carnival parade commentator on National Radio in Rio de Janeiro to Reuters. “This was a historic parade. They’re the underdogs — the small school from the favela — and this parade with the political message is by far the best they’ve ever done, which is emblematic. They made a big statement and captured how many Brazilians feel during these times of political and eco-nomic crisis.”
Praise and criticism of Tuiuti has exploded on social networks — and the small school has become the most discussed subject on Brazilian Twitter and the 2018 Rio’s Carnival.